Pfizer pfabricates pfarmaceuticals pfor quite a pfew inpfirmities. The company is the world's largest research-based pharmaceuticals firm, producing medicines for ailments in fields including cardiovascular health, metabolism, oncology, immunology, and neurology. Its top prescription products include cholesterol-lowering Lipitor, pain management drugs Celebrex and Lyrica, pneumonia vaccine Prevnar, and erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra, as well as arthritis drug Enbrel, antibiotic Zyvox, and high-blood-pressure therapy Norvasc. Consumer health products include such leading brands as Advil, Centrum, and Robitussin. Pfizer was founded by cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart in 1849.
In 2014 Pfizer began organizing its business into three operating segments. The Global Established Pharmaceutical segment (or GEP; it accounted for half of Pfizer's total sales that year) covers sterile injectable products and the company's biosimilar development portfolio. Collaborations and existing agreements, including those with Mylan Inc. in Japan, Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in China, and Laboratório Teuto Brasileiro S.A. in Brazil, fall under the GEP umbrella.
The Global Innovative Pharmaceutical segment (GIP, accounting for 28% of sales) includes immunology and inflammation, cardiovascular and metabolic, neuroscience and pain, rare diseases, and women’s and men’s health. The Global Vaccines, Oncology, and Consumer Healthcare group (VOC, 20% of sales) works on vaccines and other products for oncology and consumer healthcare.
Pfizer's largest patent expiration -- that of former #1 global top-selling drug Lipitor, which brought in $11 billion to $12 billion in annual sales during its prime -- took effect in the US market on November 30, 2011. As generic drugmakers (including Ranbaxy and Actavis) began selling versions of the product, annual Lipitor sales dipped to $9.6 billion in 2011 and then plummeted to $3.9 billion in 2012. Pfizer has retained some Lipitor revenues through sales in other markets and through direct-to-consumer programs, but it has lost exclusivity in all major markets.
In other patent expirations, Pfizer lost US exclusivity for Geodon and Revatio tablets (in 2012) and Rapamune, Detrol LA, and Celebrex (in 2014). In early 2015, versions of Zyvox became subject to generic competition in the US. The company has alsorecently lost exclusivity for Xalatan, Xalacom, Detrol LA, Viagra, Inspra, Lyrica, and Celebrex in most major European markets. In Canada, it lost exclusivity for Lyrica.
The company is working diligently to launch new blockbusters from its robust R&D pipeline to make up for the off-patent losses and return to revenue growth. The firm has some 80 projects in clinical stages of development, including drugs for Alzheimer's disease, psoriasis, diabetes, lung cancer, epilepsy, pain, and infections.
Revenues from biopharmaceutical products contributed 92% of total revenues in 2014. Pfizer recorded direct product revenues of more than $1 billion for each of 10 biopharmaceutical products: Lyrica, the Prevnar suite of products, Enbrel, Celebrex, Lipitor, Viagra, Zyvox, Sutent, Norvasc, and the Premarin line of products. Combined, these accounted for more than half of total biopharmaceutical revenues that year.
While the US remains Pfizer's largest market (accounting for about 40% of revenues), the drugmaker has a strong global presence, with international countries accounting for more than half of sales. Key international markets include Japan (9% of sales), Australia, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Scandinavia, South Korea, and countries in Western Europe; the company is also growing in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey.
Pfizer has major manufacturing facilities in Belgium, China, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the US.
Sales and Marketing
The company markets its pharmaceuticals directly to doctors, hospitals, nurses, pharmacists, benefit management firms, managed care organizations, employer groups, and patients themselves. Most of its sales are conducted through wholesale distributors including McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, each of which account for around 10% of annual revenues.
The company also markets directly to consumers in the US through direct advertising, including television, print, and digital ads, as well as in-store promotions. It sells its consumer health care products through distributors, pharmacies, retail chains, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other channels.
Pfizer has seen continuous revenue decline since 2011 and 2014 was no exception. Revenue dropped 4% to $49.6 billiondue to the expiration of the co-promotion agreement for Enbrel in the US and Canada. It also lost exclusivity for Detrol LA, Celebrex, and Geodon in the US, Viagra in Europe, and Aricept and Lyrica in Canada. Meanwhile, sales of Lipitor continued to slip, and several other products experienced declines.
As the company continues to invest in research and development to find new blockbusters, its expenses have risen. In late 2014, Pfizer announced a collaborative agreement with Merck to develop and commercialize an investigational anti-PD-L1 antibody as a potential treatment for multiple varieties of cancer. Additionally, costs for ongoing phase III programs for certain drug candidates cut into the company's bottom line. As a result, net income fell 58% to $9.1 billion in 2014. Those declines led to a decrease in operating cash flow, which slipped 5% to $16.9 billion.
Though it continues to grow through R&D efforts and acquisitions, Pfizer has been conducting extensive cost-cutting programs in recent years to counteract losses from patent expiration. It has also been selling non-core assets (such as its Zoetis animal health business in 2013).
Over the past few years Pfizer has been streamlining operations at its research facilities with the overall goal of reducing its adjusted R&D spend to between $6.5 billion and $7 billion. (However, in 2014 R&D expenses topped the $8 billion mark, largely due to an arrangement with Merck to develop potential cancer treatments.) As part of this strategy, the company is focusing on its most promising late-stage drug candidates in six key therapeutic areas: immunology and inflammation; cardiovascular and metabolic; oncology; pain and neurology; vaccines; and rare diseases. Pfizer has also increasingly relied on partnerships to build its R&D activities, including some team-ups with fellow top pharma companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb (cardiovascular and metabolic candidates), and GlaxoSmithKline (HIV).
No stranger to large acquisitions, Pfizer in 2014 made a $100 billion offer for fellow pharma firm AstraZeneca. The deal, which was repeatedly rebuffed, would have boost Pfizer's R&D efforts, moved its headquarters to tax-friendly England, and delivered promising oncology drug candidates. Pfizer eventually gave up on the deal.
In addition to partnering with Merck on the development of a cancer antibody in 2014, Pfizer entered into a collaborative agreement OPKO to develop and commercialize that company's long-acting human growth hormone for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency. In 2015 it paid OPKO $295 million and received the exclusive license to commercialize the hormone worldwide.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Pfizer has made a number of acquisitions to beef up its development-stage and commercialized offerings and ward off losses from patent expiration. Its boldest move came with the 2009 acquisition of pharma rival Wyeth for $68 billion, which expanded its therapeutic offerings in a wide variety of areas.
In 2014 Pfizer acquired Baxter International’s vaccine portfolio and manufacturing facility in Austria for about $635 million. It also bought InnoPharma, a pharmaceutical development company with a focus on sterile injectables for the treatment of tumors and central nervous disorders. In early 2015 Pfizer acquired a controlling stake in startup Redvax, a spinoff of Swiss biotech firm Redbiotec; the acquisition provides Pfizer with access to a preclinical human cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine candidate.
Also in 2015, Pfizer announced plans to buy Hospira, which provides specialty injectable drugs and infusion technologies, for approximately $17 billion. The acquisition will grow Pfizer's GEP segment by expanding its portfolio, adding among other products several marketed biosimilars and sterile injectables from Hospira's portolio.